• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is the statement "Lions led by Donkeys" accurate? To answer this question, I will have to assess the attitude of the Generals during the First World War. Were the Generals "donkeys" and the soldiers "lions"?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Introduction Is the statement "Lions led by Donkeys" accurate? To answer this question, I will have to assess the attitude of the Generals during the First World War. Were the Generals "donkeys" and the soldiers "lions"? To help answer, I must look at an argument that has yet to be solved. This is my only hope of discovering the truth. The Case For The Interpretation There are many arguments that support this allegation. The first one, which I will look at, is that the Generals lived miles away from the Front and did not know what it was like. A source that supports this argument is part of a script on Blackadder Goes Forth, which describes their next attack as "Field Marshal Haig's gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin." This is only a television program and the writer may have a grudge against Field Marshal Haig. We cannot use this as reliable evidence and so we must question its trustworthiness. Source 1 BLACKADDER: IF YOU MEAN, "ARE WE ALL GOING TO GET KILLED?" YES. CLEARLY, FIELD MARSHAL HAIG IS ABOUT TO MAKE YET ANOTHER GARGANTUAN EFFORT TO MOVE HIS DRINKS CABINET SIX INCHES CLOSER TO BERLIN. ...read more.

Middle

IT'S CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. BLACKADDER: IT'S THE SAME PLAN THAT WE USED LAST TIME, AND THE SEVENTEEN TIMES BEFORE THAT. MELCHETT: E-E-EXACTLY! AND THAT IS WHAT IS SO BRILLIANT ABOUT IT! WE WILL CATCH THE WATCHFUL HUN TOTALLY OFF-GUARD! DOING PRECISELY WHAT WE HAVE DONE EIGHTEEN TIMES BEFORE THAT IS EXACTLY THE LAST THING THEY'LL EXPECT US TO DO THIS TIME! THERE IS HOWEVER ONE SMALL PROBLEM. BLACKADDER: THAT EVERYONE ALWAYS GETS SLAUGHTERED THE FIRST TEN SECONDS. MELCHETT: THAT'S RIGHT! AND FIELD MARSHAL HAIG IS WORRIED THAT THIS MAY BE DEPRESSING THE MEN A TADGE. SO, HE'S LOOKING TO FIND A WAY TO CHEER THEM UP. BLACKADDER: WELL, HIS RESIGNATION AND SUICIDE WOULD SEEM THE OBVIOUS SOLUTION. The last part of the argument was that the soldiers who were described as "lions" were sent to fight in impossible conditions. They were cold, wet and miserable due to the lack of food and water. Once the soldiers began to realise that they were living in the wrong conditions, misery set in and Field Marshal Haig was becoming more popular. A poem was written by one of the soldiers who survived the war, and he tells of the conditions and the thoughts of the soldiers. ...read more.

Conclusion

I believe that it was only after the war, when we had hindsight, did we start to criticise Haig. Source 5 VERY SUCCESSFUL ATTACK THIS MORNING... ALL WENT LIKE CLOCKWORK... THE BATTLE IS GOING VERY WELL FOR US AND ALREADY THE GERMANS ARE SURRENDERING FREELY. From when we first learned of our mistakes, we instantly blamed the Generals and Haig for the atrocities of the War, but it was the politicians that gave the Generals their orders. Surely we shouldn't be blaming the middleman? If anyone, it should be the politicians who should be getting it in the neck. They idly sat by and watched the Generals and Field Marshal Haig get blamed. After that, the politicians gave Haig a house, �100,000 and made him an Earl. Conclusion In conclusion, I feel that the Generals were and were not "donkeys" in a sense that they were doing what they thought was right. Not only was it the only option, but also it seemed the only solution to the fighting. I am still unable to make a decision about the argument but I believe that both sides have valid and worthy points of view. "Lions led by Donkeys", is this interpretation true of the Generals in the Great War? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. General Haig - Butcher or Hero?

    The scale of the Italian defeat at Caporetto led to both a change in government and the dismissal of their Chief of Staff. Over the course of this battle, there were 300,000 Italian casualties, 90% of which were prisoners of war.

  2. 'Lions Led by Donkeys' How Valid is this Interpretation of the Conduct of the ...

    However these wars were very one sided as the enemy were poorly equipped. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces on the Western Front in 1915 and was then promoted to the rank of Field Marshal on 3rd January 1917.

  1. 'Lions led by Donkeys' Use The Information In The Sources And Your Own Knowledge ...

    To fight with no orders on what to do therefore leaving them to improvise on what they were going to do. This shows that the British army was not putting up much of a fight and was not very organized as everyman was fighting by himself and not as a team.

  2. 'Lions led by donkeys.' How valid is this interpretation of the leadership of Douglas ...

    At the end of the war he was made an Earl and awarded �100 000 by Parliament. In Criticism of Haig It is widely concluded by many historians that Haig was a poor commander who failed to accomplish his goals and targets set by his superiors.

  1. World war 1

    The plan was a complete failure, however the British managed to achieve half of their plan; Germany moved its troops from Verdun to the Somme. This relieved the pressure from the French. In this letter Lloyd George congratulates Haig, 'I congratulate you most warmly on the skill with which your

  2. "Lions led by donkeys". How valid is this interpretation of the conduct of British ...

    Now (Turning to the Regimental Sergeant-Major) what is the second difference?" Sergeant-Major: "The absence of the General, Sir" This source clearly supports the idea of "Lions led by Donkeys". It does this by showing that the General does not really have a clue what was going on and that they were absent from the battlefield.

  1. Some people have the view that British generals like Haig were incompetent leaders. How ...

    The fact that he was a solider fighting in the Somme makes the source reliable because he witnessed what had happened on July 1916; he had to witness the people he had fought alongside being killed because of the instructions that were given by leaders like Haig therefore he would have an instant negative opinion of leaders like Haig.

  2. "The British Army were Lions led by Donkeys." Discuss.

    However, if he went to the battlefield too many times there is a risk for him to be killed, which will cause a bigger problem if he died. But, this may not be true because a leader should take care of his team.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work